Monday, August 22, 2005

In Iraq, Grace takes amazing hold

Katherine Kerstin is The Star Tribune's attempt at diversity (political) but her column's scope is a conservative view on the local area only. I do love the fact that Katherine was able to get a "good news" story on the editorial page about Iraq though.

Pastor Ghassan Thomas was overjoyed on April 9, 2003, when coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein. For four years, in the face of relentless persecution, he had operated an underground Christian church of about 50 members in the heart of Baghdad.

Saddam's police had tortured him repeatedly, Thomas says -- beating him, suspending him from a ceiling fan and attaching electrodes to his tongue.

Though Saddam's fall brought an end to official persecution, it also brought challenges. The living quarters where Thomas' fledgling flock had worshipped couldn't accommodate his swelling congregation, and he lacked resources to address their daunting needs.

<.....>In December 2003 in Jordan, an acquaintance introduced Thomas to Dave Gibson, pastor of missions and outreach at Eden Prairie's evangelical Grace Church.

"I was profoundly moved when Ghassan told me about his congregation's plight and their courage," says Gibson. "I knew we had to come alongside and help."

Back in Eden Prairie, Gibson marshaled Grace Church's formidable resources to "make it happen" in Baghdad. Grace Church folks -- 4,000 strong -- have practice
aiding churches in countries with little freedom to worship: They've got sister churches in Vietnam and Cuba.

Grace underwrote a new 700-seat worship space in Baghdad, and stayed in weekly contact with Thomas as his congregation brought it to life.

Good for Katherine! She even got some news about the wonderful things our Military people have done for this church and school.

In Iraq, Grace takes amazing hold

H/T Powerline.

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